A socialist sysadmin’s view of the Blogads ‘plague’
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003
I always love it when people gripe about advertising, particularly when Blogads gets slammed in the process. So here’s a nice anti blog ad screed from one Steve Hooker, a UK government employee:
Though I have a degree in graphics and advertising I’ve always been against advertising. Just my socialist background finds them distasteful. It’s whoever can spend enough money fooling people that their can of beans is best, not that that can is best for the person. Trickery, slight of hand, bending the truth, that’s what ads are for… If ads start to plague [link to Blogads] blogs, the near-utopian world we have right now may disappear.
Yes, Steve, God forbid that writers should get 80% of what advertisers pay, rather than the 5-10% usually passed along by traditional publishers.
I guess Steve, a guy who has the luxury of working as an “intranet builder for Government Office of West Midlands,” probably rarely faces the challenge of selling anything to anyone other than his boss or wife… so has his fingers firmly on the pulse of economic reason. It’s easy for him to think that the rest of us should do as he does.
[Update: whoops, Steve’s an entrepreneur and a nice guy. See his comment below. So much for pre-breakfast snarkiness.]
I assume Steve gets to work on a bike he built himself — Marx forbids he buy one that some lying corporation “convinced” him to drive — or better yet, walks barefoot. He drinks only tap water, since it’s the only beverage not contaminated by the slime of advertising.
Fact is, most of the products that make modernity comfortable for folks other than the elite are objects and experiences we didn’t know we’d need, things no central planner could have imagined people would ever want or afford. Each product started out as a twinkle in the eye of some deranged entrepreneur, then got tested on the entrepreneur’s friends and family and finally got popularized through — cover your ears Steve — advertising.
This dialectic of invention and advertising, product creation and demand stimulation, was good… unless you think products like refrigerators, pocket cameras, automobiles, air travel and personal computers should be used only by rich folk AND designed only by government employees. Yes, here’s a souvenir of the pre-mass-market-advertising utopio:
In fact, Steve’s post isn’t all idiocy. (In fact, he seems to be a cheerful guy and good father when you read the rest of his blog.) I agree with Steve’s final point: “The point of blogging is not to make money from eye-balls, not IMO. It maybe to make money from thought and intellect or reputation sure, nothing wrong with making money. But CPMs are eye-ball traffic, lowest common denominator.” If blogs are going to achieve their rightful advertising premiums, we’re going to have to demonstrate that they do more than provide cheap eye-balls or high clickthrus… MSN will always have more eyeballs and Drudge can always undercut our CPM. Bloggers who strive to will make money because they provide, amid the clutter and cacaphony of online life, a uniquely intimate and consistent context for entrepreneurs who need to popularize innovative ideas and intangibles.